Live, Work, Adapt: Deconstructing Work-Life Balance

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Virginia Tech


This thesis is derived from dissatisfaction with the term work–life balance. Definitions of the term imply that we have the ability to separate half of our time between home and work, but it is never this binary. The term is too simple to describe the vast concepts of work and life. Work-life balance is similar to playing a losing game with time, where one aspect is often neglected, may it be time for self, family, or health. The neglect is a product of overwork and financial stress. In The Healthy Workplace Nudge, they note that "work is baking stress into the workforce and that work is the fifth leading cause of death in America," 1 and that work-related stress is associated with a range of health concerns such as poor mental well-being, social isolation, and chronic diseases.

83% of Americans experience the effects of work-related stress.2 Consequently, they carry these feelings home each day. As factors of life pile on coupled with a range of social issues, life becomes harder to balance between home and work. As a response to rapid and unpredictable changes in society, this thesis aims to explore the ways we live and work. How can home and work environments adapt to the changing needs of society? The initial hypothesis was that a proposed shared living complex has the potential to provide social support and strengthen accessibility to programs where the individual can gain a better quality of life.

Efforts to deconstruct work-life balance include breaking down the concepts of work, life, and self, causing this thesis to seem immeasurable at times. The study's intent is not to completely redefine the term but to explore how individuals can view the term as a more fluid approach to navigating life.



work-life balance, work, time, quality of life, adaptivity, social support